Education is the best tool for empowerment. It is the peaceful way of enabling a society or community to fight against oppression, exploitation and inequality. Over decades, the government has been trying to extend the outreach of, at least, school education to all. But whenever you get to interact with government school children, you would be disheartened to find that the quality of education being imparted to them is pathetic. Yes, there is no other better word to describe the quality of education.
What are the factors behind the plight of government school education in our country? Generally, we get to hear that the teachers are poorly skilled or you can incompetent to teach. I will admit that there is some amount of truth in it. But then who is to blame. If an organisation has inefficient employees, who should be blamed? The employees or the employer? If you find the employees are incompetent, train them properly. Give them stringent punishment, stop their salary or engage them in some other work. But don’t blame such handful of teachers for the mess in the education system.
Now, if you ask a teacher the same question – who is to blame for the poor quality of education? They would blame the government. One common excuse that every teacher has is that government engages them in non-educational activities like the census, elections and a host of other official work. Also, many blame certain government schemes like MDM, scholarship and freecycle distribution for degrading the quality of education. They allege that parents enroll their kid for availing these benefits instead of giving quality education to them.
The next in turn are the parents. They have a single answer to all your questions. Teachers don’t teach properly. Also, they would allege corruption in the above-mentioned schemes. If you ask them whether a government is responsible for it. They would obviously put a bit of blame on officials too. But again, as one of the villagers told me once, what can the government do. If the teachers do not want to teach, a government can not force them to do so.
Teachers are nowhere to be blamed for the plight of education in Bihar. Over the last two decades, successive governments have made a mockery of the education system. Government not only paralyzed the whole education system but also succeeded in creating a mindset among masses that the teachers are responsible for the appalling condition of the education in the state.
There was no protest from the then serving teachers when Shiksha-Mitra were being appointed in schools as teachers. Nobody raised a question about the process of appointment of such teachers. Jobs were given on marks basis. There was no care about the meritocracy or proper selection process. Nobody gave a damn care about future of students.
For the last twenty years, there was a practice of dumping and fraud by showing good results in board exams. But now, when true results are coming out there is a state of pandemonium in the government. The government is searching for scapegoats. And who could be a softer target than the already exploited and deprived teachers? So, we are witnessing all kinds of media statements from ministers to commoners blaming the niyojit teachers.
I fail to understand how can the blame be put on those who are themselves an exploited section, those who are paid meagerly that too after a gap of 4-6 months or on those who themselves have to pay petty bribes every month to get their regular jobs done. We need to understand that teachers are just pawns in the powerful hands of the government. But unfortunately, neither the media nor commoners want to analyse the true reasons behind poor results and punish the real culprits.
As much as I have experienced this education system, everyone is right at his own place. The problem is not from one side but all the three stakeholders are equally responsible for the poor quality of education. But the BIG question is – what is the solution then?
The answer is also very simple. The authority, the service provider and the beneficiary should sit together and try to sort out this problem. But will it ever happen? Will these three ever sit together and discuss how to provide a better quality of education? To me, this doesn’t seem to be happening in near future, at least, not in next decade or so.